Writing your testimony

Writing your testimony
Writing your testimony

Writing your testimony has to do with a way of putting down the marvelous works of God in your life.Everyone has a story, and as a Christian, one of the most powerful stories you can share is the personal testimony of your faith. As with any narrative, an effective written testimony needs to follow a certain structure.

Part 1 ways of Writing your testimony
Part 1 of 4:

Pray for guidance. Your testimony is a strong tool you can use when witnessing to non-Christians. Since the primary purpose is to honor God and advance His kingdom, praying to the Holy Spirit for guidance before you set pen to paper is a logical first step.

Read an example. Get an idea of what to include by reading an effective testimony someone else wrote. You can either use a contemporary example or look for an example provided in scripture.
One of the best examples you can read through is Paul’s testimony in the Bible. To read his testimony, check out Acts 22 and Acts 26.
You should also ask yourself if there were any testimonies you heard or read prior to your conversion that left an impact on you. If so, recall the details of that testimony and determine what made it so powerful from your point of view.

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Think about your past. More specifically, think back on your life and attitude before you gave your life to Christ. Ask yourself what issues were important to you and what arguments for conversion had the greatest impact on your final decision. Seek to include these elements in your own testimony.
More specifically, ask yourself about the obstacles you faced and how you felt when you were alone with your thoughts. Remember what it was that made you crave change, and any attempts you made to change in other ways prior to your conversion.

Write an outline. Before you write out the actual testimony, it can be a good idea to write an outline or to otherwise summarize each section of your testimony. As a general rule, your testimony should be divided into three parts: your life before Christ, your decision to convert, and your life after conversion.

Part 2 way of Writing your testimony
Part 2 of 4:
Defining the Problem

Explain your past. The first part of your testimony should include information about what your life was like before you accepted Christ. Focus on the negative here. You may have been materially wealthy or well-off in other ways, and you can mention that, but you need to make it absolutely clear that your life was missing something big. In order to do that, you need to draw attention to that which you lacked, as well as your past struggles with sin.
Use specific detail rather than relying on generalities. Instead of saying, “I was materially wealthy but lacking something spiritually,” explain the luxury you lived inโ€””I was the boss at a successful company and had a six-digit salary”โ€”while showing the reader that there was a definite problemโ€””I was so cruel that my family left me and I felt so empty inside that I drowned my cares in alcohol each night.”

Mark a specific turning point. As the saying goes, “it is darkest just before the dawn.” If your life reached an all-time low before you converted, describe this specific low point. Paint the picture as effectively as possible.
If you did not have a specific moment of darkness before you turned to Christ, however, that is perfectly fine. You do not need to make your circumstances seem more dramatic than they were. Simply describe your past life as clearly as possible, including as much detail as you can about your unhappiness and your desire to seek something more. From there, move directly into the story of your conversion.

Part 3 ways of Writing your testimony
Part 3 of 4:
Describing the Solution

Mention the moment of your conversion. This is the focal point of your testimony, so you need to be specific. Describe the exact moment you asked Christ into your life. You do not need to describe your conversion in mystical terms or flowery language. On the contrary, a simple statement about the day and hour it occurred is usually more effective.
Think of your conversion moment as a “but then” in the tale of your life. Up until this point, you’ve described a life that was lacking in purpose, hope, joy, or some other form of meaning. When you introduce the moment of your conversion, you are saying, “but then…this and that happened to change my life for the better.” The entire tone of your testimony shifts from negative to positive at that moment.
As with your “before” story, you need to be specific when you describe the details leading to your conversion. List specific events, places, and people as applicable. If your cousin Benjamin or your long lost pal Susie first introduced you to Christianity after you ran into him at the grocery store or met her again at a school reunion, include those details in your story. Avoid non-specific statements like, “A distant relative invited me to church one day.”[1]

Focus on Jesus. Remember that your testimony should focus on God saving you. Avoid phrasing your conversion in a way that makes it seem as though you saved yourself.
As a general rule, do not focus about how “good” you were before your conversion or how “holy” your deeds became afterward. Take a step back and ask yourself if any of the details you wrote glorify you more than they glorify God. If so, rephrase them or leave them out.

Share your current situation. In order to see how beneficial your conversion truly was, you need to let potential readers know how your life has improved since the day of your salvation. Mention any ongoing struggles you might have, but keep the overall tone of this section positive.
Describe any specific changes you’ve experienced internally thanks to Christ’s influence on your life. Explain how your motivation now varies from the motivation you had in the past.

Part 4 ways of Writing your testimony
Part 4 of 4:
Additional Writing Practices

Keep it brief. In essence, your entire life story could be a form of testimony in itself, but you want to avoid writing that much information when jotting down a testimony you intend to share with non-Christians. Aim for roughly 500 words, give or take another 100 words or so. This amount does not need to be strictly adhered to, but it is a goal worth keeping in mind as you write.
Another way to look at it is to consider how long it would take you or another person to read your written testimony. The target time you want to aim for is 3 minutes. Anything shorter may not include enough detail, but anything longer might start to drag on.

Use secular lingo. More precisely, use lingo that everyone can understand instead of weaving in words and phrases limited to a church audience. If you use religious lingo, the non-Christians you hope to reach with your testimony may not be able to follow along well.
A “church term” does not need to be complicated. On the contrary, most terms you’ll intentionally need to avoid are seemingly simple terms that have only become part of your language after you converted.
Common church terms include: born again, saved, lost, gospel, sin, repent, converted, and convicted.
Use these terms only if you intend to explain them. Often, you might find it best to simply replace the term completely by its definition. For example, instead of saying “lost,” say that your life was “heading in the wrong direction” or that you were “separated from God.” Instead of saying “born again,” use a more descriptive phrase, like “spiritual birth” or “spiritual renewal.”

Avoid idioms. This is especially important if you expect your testimony to reach readers who do not speak English as their native language. Idioms do not usually translate well or carry over well from culture to culture, so foreign listeners might get confused upon hearing them.
Even if you know that native English speakers will be reading your testimony, it is still a good idea to avoid using too many idioms in your writing. When you rely too heavily on idioms to make your point, you might accidentally leave out details or more specific information that would actually make a stronger point. Consider this: does saying “I was all washed up” really convey more meaning than describing the circumstances of a meaningless career, broken family, or selfish life choices, or is the opposite true?
Idiomatic expressions can include phrases like “Nobody gave a hoot” or “a God shaped hole.” When you are tempted to use one of these phrases, opt for something more direct like, “I felt that no one cared” or “I felt incomplete inside.”

Share from the Bible. While you need to use language that a non-Christian can appreciate, you also need to point your finger at God repetitively throughout the story of your salvation. One of the most effective ways to do this is to back elements of your testimony with words directly pulled from scripture.
Use one or two verses, at most, and only weave them in if they directly relate to your experience. The Word of God is a powerful tool, but the idea here is to make your testimony as personal to your own life as possible. If you rely only on scripture as you write your testimony, you won’t have room for your own words.

Leave other people out of it. Make your conversion experience about you and God. You can mention someone who was vital in bringing you closer to God, but ultimately, the comments you make about other people should be fairly non-specific and brief.
In particular, you should avoid mentioning churches or denominations by name, and you should leave out any statement that reflects negatively on a church, Christian organization, or member of the Christian community.

Be honest. Maybe you feel as though your testimony was a rather simple, unexciting event and are tempted to exaggerate the details to make it more impressive. Similarly, if you do not have your life completely together yet, you might also feel tempted to make your current circumstances sound better than they truly are. Resist the temptation to lie about your story, though, even if your motives seem good. Only a clear, 100% true testimony can convey the truth of your faith accurately.[2]

Write the way you speak. Keep the tone of your writing casual and avoid formal speech. You want people to be able to connect and relate to you story on a personal level. In order to do this, you must address your readers on a personal level from the start.